Should Healthcare Care About Branding?

August 3, 2018
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Although branding is a concept often associated with products and sales, it’s also useful for industries that primarily provide services to people and might offer relevant items, too. The medical sector fits that description.

Non-Branding Reasons Why People May Choose Certain Facilities

A healthcare establishment’s branding efforts may not necessarily encourage people to go to it. For example, maybe they face health emergencies while traveling and have no choice but to seek the nearest place for treatment.

Or, perhaps there is only one facility in the community that accepts their brand of health insurance. In that case, they’d probably go to whichever one does because they don’t want to deal with extraordinarily high costs.

Those two examples clarify that branding does not always factor into the equation when people pick their preferred health facilities. However, there are numerous reasons why focusing on branding helps the health sector as a whole move forward, along with ways to accomplish better branding.

Aim for Distinctiveness, Not Differentiation

Many people hear about how effective marketing requires efforts that help customers see why certain brands are different than others. However, even when there is not a high level of differentiation between health brands — or any brands in a category — people still buy them. Despite the similarities between Coca-Cola and Pepsi, shoppers buy both.

So, the goal is distinctiveness, instead. Healthcare brands can create distinctiveness through their color schemes, taglines and even celebrity endorsements. Ideally, customers could look at a facility’s branding effort and instantly know the establishment behind it. Being as consistent as possible helps a brand stick in people’s memories. Plus, when consistency causes positive experiences, target audience members come back for more.

Then, name recognition starts to make them form opinions, even if they don’t realize it. Greens are commonly used when choosing the hues for health-related marketing campaigns, perhaps because of the association with surgical scrubs. However, other tactics are available.

In Charlottesville, VA, the University of Virginia has medical facilities on its campus. The university’s official colors are orange and blue, and the health system arm wisely chooses to incorporate those in marketing materials.

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Source: https://blog.uvahealth.com/

In contrast, Martha Jefferson Hospital, another Charlottesville facility, uses a similar color scheme, but one with a lighter blue and an accompanying shade that’s more yellowish than orange. Plus, its advertising rightfully does not mention the University of Virginia because there’s no affiliation between the two.

Source:  https://www.coloribus.com/adsarchive/prints/martha-jefferson-orthopaedics-small-joint-problems-grow-into-big-joint-problems-19894755/

Both ads are visually appealing. But, the first one could make a person say, “I have a favorable opinion of the University of Virginia, so if given a choice, I’ll go there to get my healthcare needs met.”

Cater to People’s Concerns

A successful marketing campaign addresses the needs and fears people have. When a person is no longer able to walk independently, they might buy a Hoveround, a brand of highly maneuverable, compact motorized wheelchair.

A webpage about the brand’s story features a subheading that speaks to the uncertainty many people have about whether transitioning to a wheelchair will substantially limit them:

Source:   https://www.hoveround.com/about/the-hoveround-story

The accompanying text discusses being able to live independently at home and enjoy an improved quality of life, which are both wise things to bring up. Many sites that sell mobility aids have bland product descriptions that list features but don’t go into how those components help users.

The Hoveround site is different because it attempts to calm the fears a person may have that could prevent them from buying a power wheelchair or purchasing from Hoveround for the first time.

Highlight Practitioners’ Expertise and Industry Recognition

People with the means to do so might travel anywhere in the world to see the best healthcare providers — and it’s especially likely if they’ve been diagnosed with rare illnesses or will be going through substantially complex procedures.

If health facilities have particularly notable people on staff, it’s smart to draw attention to those individuals through branding, such as in the example below:

Source:  https://www.changesplasticsurgery.com/san-diego/plastic-surgeon/

That advertisement appears on the plastic surgery practice’s website. But, it’d also look appropriate in a magazine or used as a social media graphic. The text is to the point and relevant to people in search of excellent plastic surgeons.

Make the Most of Networking Opportunities

So far, the examples above explore how to appeal to people who might need to avail of health services or brands. However, it’s also crucial to market to other businesses in the medical sector. Such networking could increase sales, and trade shows are fantastic starting points.

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Trade show attendees often receive programs that tell them which companies are there, as well as details about product demonstrations, lectures and other educational events. Some companies place advertisements in those handouts. But, promotional tactics might also appear directly on a brand’s blog in a category about trade shows.

 

Source: https://www.dremed.com/medical_equipment_news/tag/trade-show/

With its headquarters in Louisville, KY, DRE Medical provides specialty equipment for customers around the world, and the company regularly attends trade shows to meet clients face to face. The graphic above is especially useful because it emphasizes the brand’s trade show presence and confirms which booth individuals should find if they want to know more about the company’s products.

It’s not sufficient to merely assume going to a trade show is enough promotion in itself. DRE makes the most of its presence by providing the booth specifics for interested people, thereby strengthening its brand in an international location.

Attend to What Providers Need

Strong medical branding is also mindful of the challenges today’s healthcare providers face. Variations exist depending on things like staffing, location and workload, but providers typically want to work with maximum productivity so they can see as many patients as possible in a given day.

This graphic from DataMatrix Medical, a transcription service, remains aware of those desires and features a call to action:

Source: https://www.datamatrixmedical.com/voice-recognition-and-medical-transcription/

The bolded font below the first two sentences undoubtedly addresses two of the primary goals providers have, regardless of their specializations or length of time practicing. An excellent branding campaign, whether in healthcare or otherwise, answers the “What’s in it for me?” question in a succinct way.

Branding Helps Health Companies Grow

Branding is essential for hospitals, medical product manufacturers, distributors and providers. The tips and examples above give willing parties the tools they need to improve their branding or build it from the ground up.